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Community Service Officers to help Alexandria police this summer

Four Alexandria College students will drive unmarked vehicles and help with non-confrontational calls and nuisance complaints.

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Police Chief Scott Kent, left, and Sergeant Chad Schroeder, right, stand with the four new Community Service Officers, from left, Jordan Slater, Hank Komrosky, Aalyse Eik and Issac Peterson.
Al Edenloff / Alexandria Echo Press
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ALEXANDRIA — Four new Community Services Officers will help lighten the load for Alexandria police officers this summer.

The Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Technical and Community College worked out an agreement for the program, offering it to first and second-year law enforcement students.

The students introduced themselves to the council Monday night. They said the program will help them gain experience and will bolster their resumes.

The CSOs, wearing black pants, black and bright yellow shirts, and black hats with white CSO lettering, will drive unmarked vehicles and help with non-confrontational calls and nuisance complaints, said Police Chief Scott Kent. They'll also hand out parking tickets and help direct traffic where it's needed.

The following are other items from the May 23 meeting not covered in other council stories.

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Two bids accepted for seaplane base

A project to renovate the city’s seaplane base is taking off.

The council accepted two bids Monday night, May 23:

  • $6,500 from Bitzan-Ohren Masonry for new concrete.
  • $4,500 from Ferguson Brothers Excavating to remove cattails at the site, if approved by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

The council held off from approving a third bid — $21,000 from Ferguson Brothers Excavating to remove the existing concrete and prepare the site for a new ramp. This will allow Airport Manager Kreg Anderson to explore other options before the council's next meeting on June 13.
The base, located by Lake Winona, is in bad shape, according to Anderson. At some point in past decades, an asphalt ramp was created that runs down to the lake and includes a floating dock.

“Over the years, the asphalt has eroded, sunk in, and crumbled away, leaving it in a shape that is barely safe for vehicles,” Anderson said in a memo to the council. “The dock is rusted out and questionable at best.”

The project involves demolishing the pavement, installing a new L-shaped floating dock and installing new pavement.

Most of the money for the project will come through a $30,000 allocation through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or CARES Act. About $2,000 will come from the airport development fund. Revenue for the fund is generated though hangar rents and other leases at the airport.

Anderson said there has been a resurgence of float planes based at the airport, and since Alexandria is a "premier lakes vacation destination," it makes sense to have a full-fledged seaplane base at the airport. Right now, six airplanes at the airport are using the seaplane base, according to Anderson.

The improved seaplane base will now be indicated on all aeronautical maps, airport directories and facility directories for pilots to see when planning their flights, Anderson said.

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The project is expected to be completed this spring.

Alley, traffic islands and crosswalk sign

City Engineer Tim Schoonhoven updated the council about the Highway Committee’s May 18 meeting.

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Tim Schoonhoven

  • Request to close alley. Innovative Construction requested to close the alley between Fillmore and Broadway, 5th to 6th Avenue and to use a portion of the city parking lot for storage of equipment and materials associated with the Creative Touch Boutique construction. The request is to have this area available for the 12 months that it takes to construct the building. There will be a 6-foot construction fence around the entire area for security. Work is planned to start by mid-June. The highway committee supported the idea with two conditions: The sidewalk on Broadway and on 5th Avenue must remain open the entire time; and the approval is granted for 6-months and will be reconsidered after that time.
  • Request to reinstall traffic calming islands. The city was contacted by a resident at Agnes Avenue and North Park Street with a request to reinstall the traffic calming island. Last year there were traffic calming islands at five different intersections. These islands are inexpensive, effective in slowing traffic, and very popular with the neighborhoods, according to Schoonhoven. The committee recommended installing traffic calming islands at the same locations this summer: Agnes Avenue and Park Street; 11th Avenue and Lake Street; Eighth Avenue and Lake; Fourth Avenue and Kenwood; Fifth Avenue and Lake.
  • Request for crosswalk signs at the intersection of Scenic Heights Road and East Golf Course Road. A crosswalk was installed there as part of the Scenic Heights street project. The crosswalk is located close to the curve in East Golf Course Road. The highway committee recommended staff to install crosswalk signs at the intersection.

Andria Thearre to celebrate new marque

The council approved a permit and five licenses:

  • A special event permit for the Andria Theatre lighting ceremony for its new marquee. The celebration will take place Thursday, June 9, starting with an open house at 8 p.m. The theater is receiving permission from the Minnesota Department of Transportation to temporarily close lanes on Broadway between Sixth and Seventh Avenues to allow people to get a clear view of the new electronic marque and take photos.
  • Indoor sales of fireworks at Walmart.
  • Mobile food truck, Terri’s Food Wagon, owned by Therese Sorenson of Alexandria.
  • Mobile food truck, Deja Bleu House of Coffee, owned by Shaun Dusing of Farwell.
  • Temporary one-day, on-sale liquor license to the Willmar Stingers Community Fund for a baseball game at Knute Nelson Memorial Park on Thursday, June 30.
  • Temporary one-day, on-sale liquor license to the Alexandria Downtown Merchants Association for a Wine, Ale and Art Crawl to be held Friday, June 10.

Contract authorizations

The council approved a resolution that updates the individuals who are authorized to act on behalf of the city and ALP Utilities on contractual matters.

They are City Administrator Marty Schultz and Kirsten Berger, human resources administrator of ALP Utilities.

Al Edenloff is the editor of the twice-weekly Echo Press. He started his journalism career when he was in 10th grade, writing football and basketball stories for the Parkers Prairie Independent.
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